Alexander Michael Hallmark died on April 16 after a sudden illness, and the world is a darker place without his presence.

He was born on April 14, 1949, in Danville, Illinois and was a world traveler from the start, thanks to the army career of his father, Col. Rufus Eugene Hallmark and his mother Sara Mae Hughes Hallmark. He spent two years of elementary school in Berlin; he was a basketball star at the American High School in Paris, and his high school prom was held in the Eiffel Tower. He graduated from high school in Stuttgart. The longest he lived in one place before he came to Blowing Rock was as a student at UNC Chapel Hill, where he studied English.

After graduation, Alex spent four years in the Navy, most notably in the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Washington D.C. He wanted to become an explorer, but since he found there wasn’t a great demand for explorers in the early 70s, he instead came to Blowing Rock and became a successful real estate broker with his father in their business, Hallmark Realty.

On July 29, 1978, he had a remarkably successful blind date with Jo Ann Howell of Weldon, NC, and they were married the following year. His life was punctuated with abundant joys, the greatest being his three sons—the chef, the musician and the artist. His pride in them could not be contained.

Around the turn of the century, he had an epiphany and decided sculpting would be a lot more fun than selling real estate. It turned out he was quite good at it. His work is collected widely, and his public works include the Senator Sam Ervin statue and the World War II Memorial in Morganton, and the statue of Doc Watson in Boone. He also created a set of Stations of the Cross for St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church in Blowing Rock, of which he was a faithful member, and also for churches in Maryland and Texas. The Annunciation above the west entrance of St. Mary’s and The Gardener in the Blowing Rock Park are also his work.

Alex was a poet, a storyteller, an artist, a sculptor, a father, a brother, a husband, a friend. He was easy to love and will be deeply missed by his wife Jo Ann; his sons, Hunter and Spenser; his brother, Rufus and countless family and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Sara and Gene, and by his beloved son, Jordan.

A service to celebrate his extraordinary life will be held at 11 a.m. on April 29th at St. Mary of the Hills in Blowing Rock. In concern for the safety of everyone, the service will be limited to the family but will be available to stream by going to the church website, https://stmaryofthehills.org, for the link. Alex would want any memorials to go to the Jordan Howell Hallmark Scholarship Fund at the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University (http://www.jordanhallmark.org/).

Online condolences may be sent to the Hallmark family at www.hamptonfuneralnc.com.

Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of the arrangements.

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